Over 40 students across the Boston metro area volunteered through CJP’s Campus Cares program within their communities while social distancing at home, spreading a bit of well-needed joy and happiness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year definitely looks different than other years,” Boston Cares coordinator Casey Mullane said. CJP worked with the Boston Cares organization to facilitate the projects. “We adopted lots of virtual and hands-on opportunities.”
Boston Cares annually mobilizes hundreds of teams, culminating in more than 65,000 hours served by over 20,000 volunteers. Efforts are in support of 155 schools and nonprofits within the Boston area.
This year, a cape and mask kit was sent to students at home, where they could assemble superhero capes and masks to help foster creativity and imagination. Others created STEM videos, where they could record experiments and talk about scientific principles to actively engage and educate children during the summer and while they learn remotely in the fall.
“They’ll be able to receive those kits and still be involved from home,” Mullane said, a shift from when most projects were done in person.
Noah Snyder, a recent graduate from Tufts University, participated in the Campus Cares projects, recording captivating readings of his favorite children’s books and uploading them to a digital library for partner schools to access and use to keep younger students engaged.
“I felt like this could be really helpful,” Snyder said. “I always really liked stories in general. It’s a great way to connect.”
Snyder chose to record two books in Spanish for the children. Since middle school, he has studied the language, and Snyder studied abroad in Spain for a semester.
“I know around Everett and Chelsea there’s a lot of Spanish-speaking students,” Snyder said, adding that he wanted to make the readings more inclusive.
“We are so impressed with the quality and care the students have put into this,” Mullane said, adding, “These projects are helpful to the populations they serve.”
Still additional volunteers recorded uplifting video messages for seniors and isolated populations. These messages ranged from sharing a talent, reading a poem, making a craft or simply saying something engaging and filled with joy. Others decorated rocks with positive messaging and designs to be placed around their community and brighten someone’s day.
“Positive messages in your own community can make someone’s day,” Mullane said.
Looking ahead, Mullane is coordinating additional rounds of volunteer work for students involved with CJP. To get involved, register at israelcampusroundtable.org/volunteer.